Tuesday, March 29, 2016


The man who spent nearly 25 hours in a downtown Seattle tree has been charged with third-degree assault and first-degree malicious mischief.

A man who spent nearly 25 hours last week perched in a giant sequoia tree in downtown Seattle was charged Monday with first-degree malicious mischief and third-degree assault.

Cody L. Miller, 28, is scheduled to be arraigned on April 11.

In charging documents filed in King County Superior Court, prosecutors are asking a judge to issue a no-contact order banning Miller from going near the towering tree just outside the downtown Macy’s store.

Arborists estimated damage to the tree at about $7,000, prosecutors said.

Police and firefighters responded to Stewart Street and Third Avenue around 11:20 a.m. on March 22 after Miller allegedly threw an apple at someone and then climbed about 70 feet up the sequoia tree.

Police say Miller pelted police and firefighters with green seed cones and branches ripped from the tree as well as pieces of metal, prosecutors allege. Several passers-by and cars were hit by the cones, police said. One officer suffered a cut on the ear from a “rock hard” cone and two others were struck, court documents say.

During the 25 hours that Miller was in the tree, he argued with police negotiators, drew a large crowd of onlookers and earned a sizable Internet following as #ManInTree.

Miller finally climbed down Wednesday afternoon.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Herschkowitz wrote in court documents that the incident resulted in a response from more than 70 police officers, negotiators, crisis-response teams and four fire-engine companies.

“This caused an incalculable waste of time and services and arguably (affected) the efficacy of local law-enforcement’s reaction times to other serious calls for service around the city,” Herschkowitz wrote.

Miller’s mother, Lisa Gossett, of Wasilla, Alaska, said she had not talked to her son for about five years when a friend called saying he was on the news.

She said she could hardly recognize him.

“There are all these people out there worried about the tree, but they’re not worried about him, the human,” she said. “He’s obviously sick.”

She said Miller had been a “regular” kid with attention deficit disorder until his late teens or early 20s, when he came up to visit her in Alaska and she noticed that something was “off.”

When she straightened his room, she noticed he had knives stashed under a pillow. He warned her there was an evil “presence” in the house and while they were out to eat he insisted “everybody” was looking at him.

“I did not know it was mental illness at first,” she said during a telephone interview on Monday.

Miller then went to live with Gossett’s mother in Roseburg, Ore., she said, but his grandmother filed a restraining order against him after he said he had dreamed of killing her and accidentally set a shed on fire.

“It was the hardest thing she ever did, but she was afraid of him,” Gossett said.

Gossett said she made numerous attempts to get him help but was told there was nothing anyone could do unless he posed a danger to himself or others.

But, she said, he didn’t get any help even after he assaulted a police officer in Oregon.

“There’s nothing we can do because he’s an adult and doesn’t think he needs help,” she said. “It feels very hopeless.”

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